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Organizing your New Year Home Office with Ronique Gibson

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The Decluttered Home

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The New Year is the perfect time to renew your home office and get organized! From paper clutter in your home office to electronic clutter it's time to start the year off refreshed and organized. Join us as we give you helpful tips to ready your home office for a refreshing New Year, including a special interview with Judson Crowder of Restorganize.com.


0:19 Ronique Gibson

The New Year is the perfect time to renew your home office and get organized from paper clutter in your home office to electronic clutter. It's time to start the New Year of refreshed and organized. Hello, everyone! It's Ronique Gibson. I'm contributor to Get Stor-ganized blog and The Decluttered Home and welcome to this New Year. I can't believe we're already here and today I'm excited because I'm at The Decluttered Home radio show. We're gonna actually talk about getting your home office ready for the New Year. It's a refreshing New Year and today I have a special interview with Judson Crowder of restorganize.com, and then afterwards we are gonna talk a little bit about how to get organize not only with your office clutter but also electronic clutter. So we'll talk about that a little later in the show. I'm also the owner of the home lifestyle blog at stagetecture.com and anytime you wanna call in during the show whether you have questions from me or you'd liked to ask Judson a question, please feel free to give us a call at 347 area code 539 5180 and we'd love to hear from you. Also like if you joined us last month in December. We started The Decluttered Home pinterest board where we actually have great inspiring pictures that go along with our different topics so you can actually see the pinterest board at pinterest.com/unclebobs and then just visit The Decluttered Home board and you will be able to follow along each time with all of our different images and they great form looking at now before the show or after the show to get you inspired and to really be able to visualize what we are talking about in this show so that's really helpful. So let's get ride into it. Today, I have Judson Crowder from restorganize.com and he is a certified professional organizer. He specializes in garage, attic and off-site storage organization. His experience includes nine years managing the storage and set dressing on the popular show Everybody Loves Raymond. You can also find Judson and more of his organizing tips at www.restorganize.com.com. Hello, Judson! Thank you for joining us today.

2:51 Judson Crowder

Good morning, Ronique! How are you? Happy New Year!

2:54 Ronique Gibson

Thank you. Happy New Year to you! I know the New Year always makes everybody wanna get organize. The things like six months through the year we kinda forget that we're supposed to stay organize. So we try to jump on the bandwagon in January, what do you think?

3:09 Judson Crowder

I know it's a big one but saying let's get organized is such a large word, it's such a -- the idea is great but it's too big, too broad of a concept. My ideas in say get organized but put bullet points below it and say something the effect of let's organize the file cabinet, let's organize the pantry, let's organize the tool drawer in the garage. Do something small so you're focused and you can achieve those goals.

3:49 Ronique Gibson

That's a good point Judson, and I feel like when I talk to a lot of people on Stagetecture they're always over consumed with how much labor it's going to take they focus more on, "Oh! I don't wanna have to clean out anything," right, they're more thinking about the laborious part of it and so I think you have a good point if you chunk it or put it into bullet points and make it manageable that definitely would be a lot more achievable.

4:17 Judson Crowder

It is, it is and it makes you feel better about yourself. It keeps you going because you are achieving your goals, you know.

4:28 Ronique Gibson

And that is so important?

4:30 Judson Crowder

Uhm-uhm. Absolutely.

4:33 Ronique Gibson

Oh, go ahead I didn't wanna cut you off or you're still talking.

4:35 Judson Crowder

No. I can keep going on. I think saying something I am gonna go back a little bit and say because get organized is such a broad comment it doesn't tell you anything about what you wanna do. So I guess I'm just repeating myself you have to be focused and specific about your tasks otherwise you do get -- you get lost in the shuffle, your own shuffle.

5:02 Ronique Gibson

No. Isn't that true?

5:04 Judson Crowder


5:06 Ronique Gibson

Now, what do you think is the most important thing to consider when planning and organizing your home office?

5:17 Judson Crowder

Well, the home office is for the most part the heartbeat of your home. It's where the computers are, it's where the printer is, it's usually where the calendar is. Everybody uses it. So to consider organizing a home office think about first who uses it? Is it just you or is it you and your spouse, or is it you and your kids? And what do they use it for? Is it for paying bills? Is it for doing research on the internet? Printing papers, playing games and how frequently is it being used? These are all things to consider when starting the organization process in your house. If your 17-year-old is doing his research papers and is printing a lot of stuff, he needs to know where all the paper is, he needs to know where the binders are, where things are that he needs. If your kid is playing the math games from the computer, well he needs to know -- he needs his mouse area cleared away and the bills.

6:32 Ronique Gibson

Good point.

6:33 Judson Crowder

You know you got to know where the bills are. I'll like to keep and organized -- your office organize the way I like to do a self-storage in it is you keep the things you used the most upfront. You keep it most accessible and the things you use frequently to keep towards the back of the swords unit, the same thing with the office. You don't have to keep the less frequently used things so accessible.

6:58 Ronique Gibson

Those are great points, Judson. What do you think is the biggest challenge that people find and face when they are organizing their home office?

7:11 Judson Crowder

(Laughs) that is paperwork. That is the largest challenge people gonna have that I have found in my experience because it's always paperwork. I don't know what to do with all those paperwork and even if you have all your e-bills taking care of and you pay your bills online and they come in email. There are still paper that is in our lives. They lie to us when they said computers were gonna save us from all those paperwork, no it's increased the paperwork. So you gonna get your filing system in order and if you get your filing system in order you can then, each piece of paper then has its own home.

7:59 Ronique Gibson


8:00 Judson Crowder

And filing systems can be a pain but they have nice ones, they have good ones out there. It's a laborious test though to get it set up, but once you get it set up it runs smoothly as long as you maintain it.

8:15 Ronique Gibson

Well...go ahead Judson, I was gonna ask you that quick question just about when you say maintain it, can you elaborate a little bit about what you mean by maintain it?

8:28 Judson Crowder

Well by maintaining it is keep things in the right order, keep putting the paperwork in to each file and I happened this one called freedom filer and it is set up to work on a month-to-month basis as well as annual basis and the long-term storage basis and so you can put the paperwork in the files that month and then you can switch that month out with the next month and then so the paperwork keeps filtering down and in. So by maintaining it I just mean keep filing your papers, don't let them get sacked up and then you won't get behind.

9:17 Ronique Gibson

Yeah, that's good and you know what I always told people Judson is right when they get the paperwork whether it's bills or things that come in the mail or even if your kid, you know. I know my kids always come home with something whether it's important paperwork from their teachers that you have to read yesterday or just simple kids schoolwork and fun craft, I say put it where it needs to go immediately and even if you can't file it have a little basket or something in the area where you frequent the most in your home. So that when you are ready to be able to file it it's all in one place and it's not so overwhelming.

10:01 Judson Crowder

Exactly. Overwhelming is a killer that -- I hear that all the time. I'm so overwhelmed I don't know where to begin and if you start that process and you keep it going then you don't get overwhelmed.

10:20 Ronique Gibson

Yeah, so true. And some people don't have a full day to focus on getting things organized. They think that they need whether it's a day or weekend, some people think it takes months but what is your suggestion for kind of chunking it or getting organize quickly whether it's just a few minutes a day, a few minutes a week, like what is your suggestion for may be reducing the time on how much it takes to get your home office organize?

10:51 Judson Crowder

Well, know that you didn't get an organized overnight. Okay, so you can't really plan to be organized overnight. So yes, it is going to take time and as long as you understand it's going to take time, that's going to help. Don't expect this to happen overnight. But you can take it in chunks. You can't eat an elephant in one bite. It takes a lot of little big bites something to that there are the same along those lines, but free your home office. Take a drawer, just take one drawer, put a sticky note on it that reads what you want to put in there, pens, pencils, writing components something to that effect, write in progress, stick it on the outside of that drawer. Open the drawer up, pull everything out and then start putting everything that you want in that drawer. If you get a phone call, if you get a kid saying, "Mom, I need something" and you have to leave you can come back to it, see that that sticky note is there that still reads in progress and you can continue working were you left off and then once that drawer is done rip off the in progress and you have your label right through on the drawer. If you want to use a nice label make or put that on there you can. But then you just started at the next drawer. Write down what you want to put in there on the sticky note, write in progress, stick it on the outside, pull things out and then just start the process over again. And so by taking at that way you're doing little chunks at a time, you're giving yourself the opportunity to pause and then to come back to it. But I think the most important thing is to know that it is going to take time. There are going to be distractions and it's going to happen. We're all human and it's going to happen.

13:04 Ronique Gibson

And you know Judson I think what you just said at the end is the most important part that people forget is that just because we, you and I, have organization, businesses and that you know they think it comes easy to us because it's our profession but we are all human and if you were to come to my house, trust me there is plenty of an organization throughout the entire home so I always just remind people that we are all human and don't think that if you go over your goal and having it all done by the end of January you still have 11 more months of the year. Just make small goals and try and chunk away like you and I had said throughout the show. I think that's a great advice.

13:46 Judson Crowder

Absolutely. Forgive me for throwing this in there in sort of self-promoting but I am posting a blog on restorganize.com about 12 months of organization and...

14:01 Ronique Gibson

Oh, okay.

14:02 Judson Crowder

It talks about trying to do one thing a month, for 30 days, for that month just try to do one thing a day for 30 days and I have suggestions for each month on things you can do. Like recycle, one thing a day, just pick something up in the house that's clutter and put it some place. Put it in the recycling bin. Put it in the file and take something out of your car everyday. Just a lot of different ideas to keep you focused on getting organized and trying to maintain that organization.

14:42 Ronique Gibson

That's a great way to actually -- like we said chunk the organization but it also makes it so over the course of a year, you can actually measure your progress so I think those were great ideas and if anybody wants to visit Judson's blog it's at unclebobs.com/getstorganized and you'll be able to see his most recent -- is it already out Judson or is it coming?

15:11 Judson Crowder

There is one on Uncle Bob's that is out that just came this morning but this is my company website where that blog happened to do that.

15:22 Ronique Gibson

I got it. Okay. So on your company website at restorganize.com that's where you're going to be featuring the 12 months of getting organized.

15:31 Judson Crowder


15:33 Ronique Gibson

Very good. Okay. So I hope I made that clear. So the Uncle Bob's Get Stor-ganized that's the blog for The Decluttered Home but then Judson his separate site is the restorganize.com and I look forward Judson to seeing those 12 months of organization because there is nothing like being able to look back over the year and see what you've accomplished with all of the different areas of your home.

15:58 Judson Crowder

Right. It's a wonderful feeling. Now, I do have a blog that just posted this morning on Uncle Bob's Get Stor-ganized website.

16:06 Ronique Gibson

Oh, okay.

16:07 Judson Crowder

And that about getting your off-site storage unit organized and then get go.

16:17 Ronique Gibson

Very good. Well, it sounds like you have some great information and I am so appreciate you coming and sharing all of these great home organization tips with us. Did you have anything more to share before we continue on Judson?

16:33 Judson Crowder

Well, I would like to say do keep in mind that some of the things that will get you distracted and frustrated are your emotions because you're going to be looking at things when you're trying to declutter just know that you are looking at things that you kept for a reason and don't get discourage because you start reminisce and it takes a lot of time and it takes more time when you anticipate it. Just understand and know that that's going to happen.

17:07 Ronique Gibson

Yes. I think that's key.

17:12 Judson Crowder

And there resources out there to help you if it becomes too overwhelming.

17:20 Ronique Gibson

Well thank you so much Judson we appreciate it and once again I hope everyone will please visit Judson Crowder on his website at www.restorganize.com and I thank you so much for joining us.

17:35 Judson Crowder

I had a great time.

17:38 Ronique Gibson

No. No. No. Go ahead.

17:41 Judson Crowder

Oh I heard something else coming on my mouth. I'm just saying I enjoyed talking with you today. It's been a lot of fun. Thank you.

17:47 Ronique Gibson

It has been fun. Thanks so much and we'll talk soon.

17:50 Judson Crowder

Okay. Sounds good.

17:52 Ronique Gibson

Bye-bye. So now we're going to take this last 10-15 minutes of the show and we're going to talk about how to get organized in your home office between your paper clutter and just organizing your physical office as well as your electronic office. So I just want to remind anyone that the pinterest board that I'm going to refer to is at pinterest.com/unclebobs and you can click on The Decluttered Home Radio Show board and you'll be able to see all the inspiration as well as a phone number (347) 539-5180 and still free to give me a call if you have some important tips that you would like to share or if you have questions feel free to call in. So my first thing I like to talk about with getting your home office decluttered is purge and sort. I think purging like Judson was saying is probably one of the most time consuming, but also one of the most important items of any organizing in your entire home. If you can go through and determine in your lifestyle what items do you not use, which items are actually in use and then which item you are not really sure what they are and you need more time to look through them, that's kind of like the best way that I say to sort out kind of like three different piles in your home office and if you have your own home business, you might have to actually have like a whole another session for just your home business, and then maybe you have a session of -- and when I say session meaning your sitting down and you're making a sorting pile in use, don't need any more throw away and these things will take more time later on.

19:53 Ronique Gibson

Make these piles and just sort through whether it's not a little bit new today maybe you come home from work after the kids go to bed. Sometimes when I'm watching TV it's the best time to sort and organize because you forget about how much time you're actually taking some sort or everything and just sit there and go through what you do and don't need. If you can do this monthly it will save you so much time and you'll actually be able to find papers and important information quicker in your home office. The next thing I like to say is shred old documents. If you don't need it anymore instead of quickly just throwing it in the trash make sure you shred your document because you never know where your trash ends up and there is nothing worse than identity fact and people knowing your personal information. So shred all of your old information that you don't need. Once you get everything sorted and decluttered I like to tell everyone to make file folders for their lifestyle. On the pinterest board one of the pins -- one of the images I found was actually a person had found and made like an emergency binder for their family which I think is a great idea because if there is one location that holds all of their important family documents. From birth certificates and social security cards to health records, emergency contacts. If you're down here in Florida we keep a folder just in case a hurricane comes, we actually have a folder and emergency supplies depending on where you live everybody usually has a folder and if you don't have one, tell yourself that you're gonna start one an emergency folder binder and this can also be for your home business. It can be for your children.

21:47 Ronique Gibson

It can be if you have elderly parents living with you it's so important to have just a binder that you can quickly take, you don't have to worry, you know where is this paper where is that paper so that's one tip I loved to give is make yourself an emergency binder and also make one for your kids or anyone who has important information that you need to be able to access quickly. Now, I know a lot of people don't like to do any kind of filing because it looks ugly and you know it takes so much time but I think now that they have so many colorful filing folders and boxes and storage organization containers, I think that it's great if you go to your local home office store. I love just going through the aisles and looking at all the beautiful colorful new organization tools because it makes you really wanna get your home office organized. So on the pinterest board I actually show an example of some filing folders where you can get everything coordinated down to the little tabs and labels that you put on your folders to hanging folders, file folders you name it. So I say make sure and make it fun and make your home office feel more relaxing and enjoyable to be in by using colorful home office organization. So once you have already organized you paper clutters you purged and sorted. Now let's move on to the electronic organization, because most of us these days are fully into email and you know social media correspondence if you get like a lot of messages maybe on Facebook or LinkedIn and a lot of us now are moving to just a more electronic lifestyle.

23:45 Ronique Gibson

I know there are several people I know who are trying to practice on one minimal lifestyle, where they kind of remove most of the paper clutter from their lives and put everything electronically and so one item I have been using in this last couple of weeks is Evernote, which I absolutely love and it's like an electronic organization internet-based Ciscom where literally it's free that you can log on and you can keep records piece and images and to-do list and then you can also sink them with your tablet, with your phone, with your smartphone, with your computer so you always have the information in one place and what I had noticed that makes all the difference in the world because no longer are you having to carry around -- I used to have this friend that carried around that little wallet of recipes in her little clutch in her purse and I was just a kid with her because I would say one day all of those are gonna fly out and your gonna not have your recipe so I think it would be a great solution for anyone who has kind of like a handicap as feeling like they need all this paper try to go and get to a more electronic way.

25:08 Ronique Gibson

Not only sorting your items but remember just because you have your items electronically you still have to keep them organized so monthly go to your email and you know we moved all the email that you don't need anymore, go to your recent folder of your email and try and organize them so that you can quickly get to an email quickly. There are so many different things whether you're trying to figure out how to organize yourself electronically or physically. Your home office should be an area that you come to daily but are able to productively get something done and leave your home office feeling like you really got what you needed done. So now let's move on to making sure your physical office looks beautiful, and on the pinterest board I found some beautiful examples of people who have taken and might style their bookshelves or their bookcases and this just means that your -- instead of your bookshelves just having a million books why not make them more beautiful and more decorative by adding books or small memorabilia or little decorative item amongst your book to make your home office now feel like a great interior space that you enjoy being in. I think many of us think that our home office has to be clean and very sterile but the reality is that you can keep it inviting and fresh looking like I said it was like the filing folders, but remember you can go one step further and with colorful furniture, decorative items that you have on your desk.

26:58 Ronique Gibson

For example, I know a lot of people are now into all of the different pen and pencil organization containers and like the platter mat that you put down on your table so that you don't write on the wood or write on the tabletops but there are so many different things that you can go to IKEA or any of your favorite home office stores, Target, Big Buck's stores and get home office items that all coordinate and I think this makes your home office not only inviting but then you kind of forget that you are doing so much work and the time goes by and before you know it you're like, "Okay, well maybe this home office thing isn't so bad after all." So after you made your home office looked great, remember paint and wallpaper, textiles, fun colors, bright inspiring colors maybe you take and add a fresh coat of paint to an accent wall behind your desk to kind of brightened it up. Remember, your home office does not have to be boring and the more that you could get to make it inspiring from the organization to the physical office you'll enjoy being in your home office that much more. So, our show is almost coming to an end today, it's been a great show. What we're going to do actually the next show, January 14 is actually dressed up your pet day so in honor of that we're going to actually have a primetime special which is going to be January 15 at 7 p.m. Eastern and trust me everyone loves their pet and this show is going to be a great opportunity for pet owners to get it by score organizing the pet clothes, accessories but also remember as humans have to live around our pets, right?

28:52 Ronique Gibson

So we need our home to be functional for us too. So join us on January 15 at 7 p.m. Eastern and we are going to talk more about how to get organized with your pets. Special thanks to Uncle Bob's Self Storage today. Uncle Bob offers locker size and closet size basis starting as low as $10 a month. You can find one near you at unclebobs.com/find or give them a call at 1-800-242-1715. Be sure to come back to The Decluttered Home for more home organization tips and advice. I appreciate you're being here today, a special thanks to Judson Crowder for joining us from the restorganize.com and I look forward to seeing you on January 15. Have a good day!